MATLAMA president Ikarabele Sello has said they do not recognise Bantu as the Econet Premier League (EPL) champions hence his charges’ failure to give the Mafeteng side a guard of honour prior to the two teams’ clash at Setsoto Stadium last Saturday.
Sello ushered his players and technical team from the pitch where they were waiting to give Bantu a guard honour before their final EPL showdown last week.
In an interview with the Sunday Express this week Sello justified his actions, saying he did not consider Bantu as champions because his side had filed a case against A Matso Matebele over the use of improperly registered players when the two sides met in the first round of the league.
“To me Bantu are not the League champions and we are still awaiting for Premier League Management Committee and Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) to take action against Bantu,” Sello said.
“The football code of conduct is clear that matches should be won fairly but the arbitration judgement states that Bantu used the players who were not properly registered in some of their league matches and the two football custodians need to act on that.”
The Matlama boss also accused the league chairperson who is also Bantu president, Leuta Leuta, of seeking to ‘hoodwink’ them into believing that Bantu are the champions.
“The league chairperson wanted to manipulate us into agreeing that his team are champions but we can’t allow that.”
Sello said he wrote to the PLMC and LeFA on several occasions and he was told to wait for the arbitration judgement which went against Bantu.
“In April I wrote a letter to LeFA and also copied the PLMC. LeFA said we should wait for the arbitration judgement and when it came it ruled against Bantu for using players who were registered unlawfully. So what is the wait now because LeFA can act against such a team according to the football laws?
“A guard of honor is given to a team that has won fairly and it must also be discussed beforehand. In this case the issue was not even raised even in our pre-match meetings.
“I am aware that my technical team were not happy with my decision as the coach was saying I can’t drag them in front of the people. I admit that was a mistake but he also has to know that this was an administration matter and it needed to be attended to urgently,” Sello said.
For his part Leuta rubbished the allegations that he directed Matlama to give his team a guard of honour.
“That is nonsense because I never decided that. That was Matlama players and technical team’s decision probably because my team did it for them after they won the Top8 trophy. If he (Sello) didn’t like it means nothing to me or my team,” Leuta said.
The premier league boss said it was time Matlama and other teams accepted the fact that the judgement went against Bantu only in their case against Lioli.
“Lioli protested and won the case three times in different courts. In their (Lioli’s) protest they asked for three points and three goals and they were awarded that so what do these teams want to be done now? They should all accept the judgment because I don’t think anything is going to change.
“The premier league and A division rules and regulations are very clear on the protests so people need to read them and refresh their minds and stop comparing us with other countries,” Leuta said.